Brent A. DiggsWriter of books and other things that tend to contain words
Once upon a time there was this guy named Jesus, you might have heard of him or even read his book.
One time at a major public address, he said that the people that followed him would be like a city on a hill: unmistakable, un-missable, un-hideable. A prominent feature on the skyline of society.
Which sounded kind of strange…until he described what his followers would be about. They would feed the hungry, they would clothe the poor, they would visit prisoners.
Not as a way to score points or impress people, but as a way to worship God.
Instead of courting favor from the powerful, they would serve and protect the powerless. They would not strive for wealth or status, but instead their success would be defined by the degree with which they were able to serve others.
And the metaphor fit, for a group of people that genuinely loved others without condition or reciprocation would be hard to miss.
But they have been missed. Sorely missed.
Although today more people today claim the title of christian than ever before, as a group they…okay, we…Â have never been more unrecognized, undistinguished, insular, and well…flat.
So much so, that at least in America, many now resort to advertising how different they are on billboards, t-shirts, bumper stickers, or any available surface, often ironically declaring their uniqueness in the most unoriginal styles possible.
Which leads me to wonder…perhaps what the world really needs is not more hype, but rather more height.
Is it possible?
Hit me with your best thought.
I don’t want to write right now.
And of all the many things I don’t want to write at this moment, I think what I most not want to write is this sentence right here.
I hate this sentence.
Everything about it.
Its length, its wording, that fact that it’s coming from my keyboard.
I despise it all.
And if there is anything on this entire planet that I hate more that that sentence up there, I think it must be this one right here.
Because the only thing worse than a despicable series of phrases, is a second one, drawing attention to the first.
In fact, it wouldn’t be too much to say that this entire article is fully loathsome from beginning to end.
So much so, I can’t believe I am still writing it.
But on I go, in a senseless display of literary self-torment.
I don’t do this merely because I am a sick and twisted individual, addicted to my own pain.
No it’s worse than that.
I do it because I practice a very specific type of masochism, known simply as Writing, and with this particular disorder the only thing worse than to indulge in it, is not to.
Don’t feel sorry for me, I have enough self-pity for us all.
That is all.
Preparing for a wedding can be tricky, even if it’s not yours.
Especially if it’s not yours.
Especially if, to pick a purely and totally hypothetical case, the wedding in question belongs to your daughter, your baby, the one you didn’t just watch grow up, but actually grew up alongside of. The always changing, yet comfortingly consistent part of your adult life.
The preparations are tiring and time consuming. The task oriented part of your brain begins to look forward to the completion your labors, “Just seven weeks to go,” it says.
And the rest of the brain is comforted by the newsâ€¦until the slower moving emotional part catches on:
That’s when she leaves.
That’s when everything changes.
You remember earlier challenging times: diapers, tantrums, naps, and the fuzzy, unfocused wish for her eventual autonomy.
But as the moment approaches you realize you didn’t mean it. You never meant it.
And you scrape together your sanity for the fifteenth time.
And you play captain to the undisciplined mess of your emotions, calming them with a confident sounding command:
“Steady as she goes boys,
steady as she goesâ€¦”
Back in the deep dark days of my childhood, before satellite, cable, or DVDs, back when even the VCR was just a gleam in some engineer’s eye, to be a science fiction fan was to be a Star Trek fan.
And for good reason.
The original Star Trek was a thing of beauty, so loaded with adventure, romance, and courage under fire, that young viewers never realized it was really an exercise in philosophy, exploring the violence, racism, and social conflict of its times.
But as deep and exciting as its storytelling often was, I think the real strength of the series was in what it didn’t tell. Unlike its successors, classic Trek usually resisted the temptation to over-explain.
As a viewer, you were always left wanting more. Wondering how transporters really worked, what powered an android, and what all those other little buttons on the console went to.
Unfortunately, starting with The Next Generation, the Star Trek franchise started shedding the adventure and wonder of its heritage and began a relentless journey deeper and deeper into its own head.
Where mystery once flirted, exposition now abounded. Every action got saddled with what seemed like hours of pseudo-scientific technobabble, to the point where roughly 25% of all available screen time got dedicated to the theoretical science behind any current crisis.
You couldn’t get fifteen minutes into an episode or feature film without one of Star Fleet’s finest saying something like,
“Maybe if we triggered a graviton pulse inversion with a double pike and served it with a side order of chronoton fluxuation in the aft sensor array, we could eventually find some action or at least return to speaking English sometime before the credits roll.”
Which brings me to my point.
Despite my earlier doubts and suspicions to the contrary, the new Star Trek movie officially rocks.
The action is back, the passion is back, and the wonder is at full strength.
This film takes the characters that we’ve loved for years, pays proper respect to their origins and motivations, and then breaks them free of the accumulated baggage and “fate” (i.e the accepted storylines of the Star Trek cannon) launching them into new and uncharted adventures.
This film has left me seriously stoked.
Final rating: Two thumbs on phasers set to “amaze.”
The last film Brent mentioned in these pages did not do so well. Check out this fair and balanced review of the most hideous waste of film ever spawned: Dragon Wars.
After nearly twenty years with The Hot Comma Momma, I have decided to make an honest woman out of her.
Already, I know a host of husbands are leaning closer to their screens; anxious to discover what manner of experimental therapy I have pioneered borrowed from Doctor Toboggans to deliver such breathtaking results.
This task, one that many would say required an army of specialists, psychiatrists, and a thorough submersion in truth serum, has been accomplished with the most unassuming of treatments: Facebook.
After untold months of godless cohabitation, our social profiles were at last joined in networking matrimony.
Here is a firsthand account of the whole affair:
I am thinking about holding the reception on Flickr or maybe Twitter.
MySpace offered to host it, and their rates are reasonable, but illiterate teenage drama gives me a rash.
What do you suggest?
When I first moved to Memphis I realized right away that locals and motor vehicles shouldn’t be allowed to mix.
Even under the best of conditions they form unstable compounds, traveling in erratic, unpredictable trajectories which, in some unexplained quantum-mechanical fashion, are able to occupy all possibly lanes of traffic simultaneously, at least until interacting violently with similar neighboring compounds.
The only know method of intensifying this chaotic reaction is to add precipitation.
Your author practicing the suggested Memphis cold weather response
When introduced to the greater metropolitan area, rain is enough to cause spontaneous formations of rapidly bonded steel to accumulate on freeways and intersections throughout the region.
With the addition of snow, there ensues a cascade reaction of such severity that only the most intrepid researcher would travel outside his or her immediate neighborhood.
Bottom line: When traveling to Memphis this holiday season, leave your snow at home.
Recently I was accused of being droll.
Not this blog mind you, or even the various characters and personas I have populated it with, but me, my very own personal self.
If there is anything that gets my dander up and marching around,1 it’s being labeled with terms so offensive, so clearly and blatantly derogatory that even I don’t know what they mean.
So in spite of strict vows intellectual pacifism, I undertook the most strenuous research methods at my disposal to fathom the enigmatic mystery known as droll.
After several second of diligent mousework I wiped the sweat from my wrist and basked in the glow of discovery.2 After a brief post-investigative nap, I read through the symptoms as presented by the vocabulary professionals of Dictionary.com:
Droll –adjective. amusing in an odd way; whimsical; waggish.
Could it be? Was it possible that The Ominous Comma and myself its erstwhile creator were in fact suffering from the insidious effects of droll humor?
So severe were the consequences of this implication that I sought out a second opinion, and after a couple more clicks of grueling research the lexiconary specialists at Wikipedia confirmed the diagnosis:
Droll Humor -an often dry, witty form of humor that elicits laughs through amusingly odd, sometimes zany behavior or speech.
They those same experts went to on to illustrate the sufferings of well known victims like Steven Wright and John Cleese, never once hinting at a cure.
I was stunned. I didn’t know how to live with such self-knowledge, or myself after having discovered it. My only hope lay with the experimental psychological research of the late Doctor Harold Toboggans3whose cutting-edge Third Person Repressionary Hypnosis therapy I hoped would give me my one shot at pulling through this crisis without permanent damage.
Snatching at the fragments of memory, I hastily assembled my best approximation of the Doctor’s radical self-programming technique.
I helped myself to several cleansing breaths and a shot of scrubbing bubbles. Then as I gazed convincingly into the mirror, I began the chant:
“Brent Diggs has droll humor – Brent Diggs is droll.”
The moral of the story I began to realize–
“Brent Diggs has droll humor – Brent Diggs is droll.”
Is that any time you set out upon a voyage of self discovery-
“Brent Diggs has droll humor – Brent Diggs is droll.”
Be sure to thoroughly check your itinerary.
“Brent Diggs is…”
- After years of clinical research it is still unclear what role dander plays in the rageification process, but experts agree that it should definitely get top billing. ↩
- For extended basking I recommend Toboggans Industries Discovery Screen made with actual pieces of ignorance to filter and protect your delicate tissues from the ravages of eureka-band radiation. ↩
- I don’t know for sure that he is dead, but whatever state he’s in, he is very, very tardy to several counseling appointments. ↩
Astute readers will note that precisely one year ago today I celebrated the Anniversary of my marriage to Camille, the Hot Comma Momma upon these shimmering pages.
As you may recall, the related festivities were made somewhat challenging not only by her lack of attendance at the actual event, but also by her complete absence from the country.
Yes, while my errant spouse was going native in the steamy jungles of Costa Rica, the Comma Community held a monitor-light vigil in her honor, filling comment-box after comment-box with well wishes, congratulations, and self-pitying cries of loneliness.
Of course that last part came mostly from me, but unless you are an extortionist, armed felon, or possibly a senator, you can really only give what you have.
But as I vowed last year, things have changed. This year my beloved traveler is in country, in house, and if I do say so myself, fairly well in hand.
“What you are experiencing now is the Kung-Fu spinal grip. Between it and the forcefield, you won’t be going anywhere.”
Of course my squad of corporate ninjas is on full alert in case she attempts another getaway, but all in all I feel pretty confident that my bride and I shall make it through the evening in the charming company of each other.
Furthermore, let me add that- Wait. That sounded suspiciously like the front door.
I have to go now and kick in the emergency boost generator for the Toboggans Industries Electromagnetic Spouse Containment Field, but while I’m gone feel free to commiserate…congratulate the HCM on nineteen lucky years with Your Author.
*Alright, for those of you who insist upon an actual list, here are the Little Known Ways: ninjas, tranquilizers, superglue, and linebackers blocking every exit.
With my last foray into Quasi-Shakespearean Home Maintenance Verse having done so much to raise the cultural density of this otherwise highly penetrable site, my first thought upon completing my latest household chore was of course: “There must be someone who would have done this for $8 an hour.”
My second thought was to celebrate my victory over domestic labor in bold Bard-worthy form.
This would be that second thought:
Ode To An Inconveniently Tall Stump Upon The Eve Of My Beloved Wife’s Return From Her Travels
When e’er I see with mine two eyes
My home’s most redneck state
And find no beauty there within
Due to my absent mate
Note the missing wife and present tree. Foreshadowing is in the forecast
Far wanders my frail and lonely mind
To times more graced with bliss
And dawns the thought ‘fore her return
I might should look at her list
Don’t worry Love, your list is at the top of my list…somewhere
First task upon that urgent note:
Lay low the former tree
Whose carcass yet was still too high
To display floral-try1
If you really wanted flowers out here, a step ladder would be no obstacle
So filled with might and much Motrin
I lumbered to the task
And forceful laid into said stump
With loves enduring axe2
Love endures a bit longer with 46cc of internal combustion backing it up
A might battle thus ensued
One wracked with many harms
And glad was I when last I won
To have still all my arms
I’m no botanist but I don’t think trees are suppose to have diarrhea
Though many a more and mighty deed
Were made complete by me
That tale shall test another day
Your love for poetry
Camille was right: this is a vast improvement
I entered the establishment off a crowded thoroughfare. The place was dark, only the occasional splash of illumination painting the stark white walls. The scent of teenage aftershave mingled freely through the sparse crowd.
Music, blunt and pulsating, saturated the air like a rhythmic fog, filling every breath, every pore, with barometric waves of insistence.
Its beat was warm and relentless as it slowly worked its way down my spine, following the tangled trajectory of my nervous system.
Imperceptibly at first, I started to twitch and then to sway in an unsettling approximation of rhythm, every moment abandoning myself further to the sound’s harsh demands.
Soon I began to embrace my inner dancer, earnestly shaking what my mother had passed on to me. That’s when I heard it, the strident sound of reality calling from some distant area code.
“Dad! What are you doing?! This is a store. You’re supposed to buy things here.”
Chastened, yet still not free of the music’s hypnotic grasp I stumbled toward the exit, pausing to check a few price tags as a cover for my retreat. I had to squint to make out the numbers in the darkness, but eventually discerned their message. Sticker shock did more than any number of offended offspring to restore me from my senses and propel me to the safety of the waiting mall.
Later, despite the urging of my immediate family, my lawyers assured me that a formal apology would not be required. Nonetheless I have decided to issue the following statement:
“Owners, manager, and employees of Hollister, Inc, have no fear. No matter what the current economic uncertainty holds for you and your overpriced garments, if times get tough be assured that you can always fall back on the nightclub trade.”